Improving Your SEO

Having a strong quality SEO plan can make the difference between your website appearing on the first page of a search engine, or behind all your competitors.

But knowing how to achieve this can become complex and difficult to understand. Here we talk you through a few of the ‘do’s and don’ts’ for improving your SEO.

DO put together a sitemap for your website. Producing a sitemap gives structure to your website and allows for not only easier navigation, but as Google uses the XML sitemap protocol it is important for your website to contain an XML sitemap. This allows Google to crawl your content and assess where you should rank on its search results. This can be re-submitted whenever you add new content onto the website.

DON’T over complicate your navigation. Google needs to see your website is customer-orientated and easily navigated through. As Google ranks your site, it needs to ensure users are easily able to access a site from other pages other than the homepage. Poor over-complicated navigation may cause users to get stuck on a page and not be able to view the rest of the website.

DO produce fresh, regular content. Google is constantly updating its algorithms, so fresh website content is one way to stay on top, as more importance is given to engaging, useful content. A blog is a great way of posting useful fresh content in order to rank high on search engines, and with people sharing your blogs the authority of your website is likely to increase. Make sure to include visual content to keep your users engaged!

DON’T duplicate your content. Duplicate content can cause issuers with content existing in your website under 2 or more different URL’s, causing negative effects for ranking. Search engines struggle to decipher which version of the content to include in their index. Make sure that even if some of the information on your website overlaps, that the content is re-written and re-worded to make it unique.

DO put together a social media strategy. Social media is now extremely important for ranking your website, and should therefore be a strong influencer in your SEO plan. Make sure before you start signing up a huge range of social media platforms, that you have clear goals in place and you understand your audience. Research your audience, find out what they are interested in, what they talk about, where they talk, and set your social media strategy goals based on this. There are so many social media platforms out there it is impossible to be successful on all of them! Focus on 3-4 platforms where you know your audience are active, and get connecting with them. Start conversations, engage with discussions and get the word spread about your website. Get organised with your social media posting, know what you’re going to post about and when.

DON’T created unnatural links. Link building is important in ranking and increase the credibility of your website. It involves the quality of links and number of links pointing back to your website. Search engines have strict rules against paid and unnatural links however, so build your links through relevant trustworthy sources naturally. Guest blogging is a great way to build natural links, however it is best to avoid low quality and performing high volume guest blogging as these may be considered unnatural links.

DO research your keywords. Do you know what keywords or key phrases people type into Google to find you? Once you know these, you can decide which ones to target. What keywords do your competitors come under? Does this provide you with new keywords to target? Focus on the keywords with high volume, and low competition and create a ‘niche’ for yourself. This is best done by targeting long tail keywords, as users tend to search with 2/3/4 words rather than just one. Talk to your digital agency for the best keywords to target.

By Gyles Seward